An American was shot dead Sunday in Taiz, south of the capital of Yemen, a murder claimed by al Qaeda, which seeks to take advantage of political unrest in the country to increase its influence.
The American, whose identity was not revealed, was for two years assistant director of the International Training Centre and International Development, a school of languages and development aid
According to security sources, he was killed by men in military uniforms and on motorcycles. One of two men opened fire on him while he was driving in the area of Sena, on a ring road to Taiz, 270 km south of the capital.
The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, contacted by AFP, said he had no information on the attack, she was checking the veracity.
Soon after, the "Supporters of Sharia", a group linked to Al Qaeda, has claimed the murder of the American, called "missionary".
"The mujahedeen were killed this morning one of the American missionaries" in Taiz "in response to the campaign conducted by the West évanglisation Muslims" say the "Supporters of Sharia" in a statement sent via SMS and confirmed AFP by a source close to the group.
This group is very active in southern and south-eastern Yemen, where it controls Zinjibar, capital of the province of Abyan, captured in May 2011, and several other localities of this province and the neighboring province of Shabwa.
In a statement posted on the website of the Ministry of Defence 26sep.net, police chief of Taiz, General Ali Saidi assured that security forces were looking for "the perpetrators of this cowardly terrorist act to bring them to justice."
This deadly attack targeting a foreign shocked the population in Taiz, a city relatively untouched by the violent actions of extremist Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda.
"We are surprised by this murder," said one resident told AFP.
"This is a consequence of the disorder that reigns in the safe city because of differences between the various decision-making centers in the country," said another resident in reference to the difficult transition underway in Yemen after the departure of powerformer President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Sunday's attack came two days after the announcement of the kidnapping of a Swiss Wednesday at his home in Hodeidah (west), on the Red Sea, where she works as a teacher for a language institute.
According to the Interior Ministry, the abducted woman was taken by his captors to Shabwa (southeast). For his release, the kidnappers' demand release of two supporters of Al Qaeda detainees at Hodeidah, "he said Friday at a local official told AFP, accusing the network of extremist kidnapping.
Yemen was the scene of frequent kidnappings of foreigners by heavily armed tribes who make the law in many parts of the country. In general, they resort to kidnapping to make their demands to the authorities.
The latter are still trying to regain control in the affected areas. Before dawn Sunday, 16 alleged members of the "Partisans of Sharia" were killed in a bombardment of their positions near Zinjibar, a local official said.
The Yemeni aviation also launched raids on the group's positions near Jaar near Zinjibar, the official said